The Corner

Another Biden Point

My column today is on the selection of Biden as Obama’s veep. I know it seems dated because of the convention and all that. But the thing is it only happened on Saturday. While I don’t get into it in the column, I think the Obama campaign is very fortunate that they were able to change the subject so quickly from their VP pick. I think if they’d done it a week earlier it would have been torn apart. I also think they benefit mightily from the fact that the DC press corps personally likes Biden so much. We’ve heard Brit Hume, Chris Wallace and Fred Barnes all speak favorably of the guy on a personal level. That’s fine. But it gives you a sense of how well liked he is by the DC establishment. I suspect it’s partly because he is charming at the retail level. Lots of people say how good he is connecting with people in coffee shops and firehouses and all that. Fine, I take them at their word. But here’s the problem. That charm does not translate on TV. It just doesn’t.  On TV he’s a bore. And for all the  talk of his gravitas the emperor-has-no-clothes observation here is that Obama has a lot more gravitas than Biden. Biden has a lot more seniority (as Mickey noted the other day). Biden can’t help the ticket through retail politics, at least not very much. In fact, if Biden weren’t from such a small state (that’s Delaware, not Pennsylvania for those who’ve only started following this) — where hand-to-hand politics can win the day — I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d been thrown out of office years ago. 

Biden is an awful pick and I  think that will be obvious by the Fall. Though, as I said Saturday, I think he’ll probably give a good speech tonight. 

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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